Veteran Hamilton fan Birdy took herself to Assembly’s Studio One for what was bound to be a show like no other – literally, as the whole thing is completely improvised from night to night.
I didn’t really know what to expect from Shamilton! but being a fan of the musical it’s (loosely) inspired by, I knew that I had a media pass and I was not going to waste my shot to go and see this thing.
I wasn’t disappointed, and I was treated to a completely unique experience that the audience literally gets to choose.
Okay, so how would this work as an improvised musical? Well, it’s put to the audience to pick their celebrity. As I recall, we got around four choices, and these included Leon S. Kennedy of Resident Evil fame (I love whoever picked this one!), Louis Theroux, Napoleon and Lady Gaga.
It was made clear to us that our choices needed to reflect the fact we had to sit through an hour-long musical about this person (good point). We then had to make the loudest noise for who we wanted, and the audience went for… Lady Gaga.
Before we begin, we have to think about some of the biggest things we associate with Lady Gaga. We’re reminded of the meat dress, dealing with chronic pain, her work for LGBTQIA+ groups, her sweet moment with Liza Minnelli, her music and her acting career.
Definite Ham vibes when the musical begins, but improvised to the point Lin-Manuel Miranda wouldn’t be able to file a lawsuit. We get introduced to the character of Lady Gaga, and the show gets underway.
The show itself
I really enjoyed this show, with the small cast each playing different characters – aside from Lady Gaga herself, of course – that our star meets along the way.
From becoming a trained actor and her fellow classmates being jealous because she seemed to have so much more drive and talent than anyone else, to meeting characters like Jennifer Hudson, Bradley Cooper, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and more.
However, the way the cast was able to cleverly make up completely improvised songs about this person they’ve only just been presented with is what really blew my mind. They’re quick, and none of them miss a beat as they pull together a plot, characters, twists and turns to keep the show moving along.
Okay, clearly they’re trained, experienced pros who have done with hundreds of times, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
There were some really funny moments, and I really enjoyed the fact Louis Theroux got added into the musical anyway as a camera man – and the impression was just too good not to! There are some great little nods to Hamilton, too, including the intro and various other points along the way.
This was a real treat, and I was definitely rooting for Gaga throughout the performance, despite the fact I know she’s going to come out of it as the star she is.
I really enjoyed Shamilton! and would recommend to anyone who’s a fan of… y’know, that musical that it’s inspired by. Question is: How does a ragtag improv group, out of New York (may not be factually accurate), weave a story and musical theatre performance together – out of thin air? HOW?!
I’m struggling to even weave together a decent line above, and I’m usually good at that sort of thing.
Anyway, this was such a fantoosh show, and you won’t be disappointed (unless you’re Lin-Manuel Miranda).